The network hosted the most recent Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta on Nov. 20, in which the Asian American candidate logged a total speaking time of just 6 minutes and 43 seconds — a scarce opportunity he received after being ignored for 32 minutes.
His total speaking time was the shortest of all 10 presidential hopefuls present and about half of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, who clocked 13 minutes and 23 seconds.
Yang’s supporters, also known as the “Yang Gang,” have since cited the event as an example of the “#YangMediaBlackout,” while Brian Yang, a fundraising director for his campaign, described it as a case of “systemic racism.”
Hate to say, but after consulting w/someone who works at MSNBC, someone who worked both NY/LA city gov’t, & someone who’s studied this academically, @MSNBC‘s silencing of AY feels like systemic racism. This would never happen to an African American/Latinx candidate. #LetYangSpeak
In a series of tweets on Friday night, the 44-year-old presidential candidate announced that MSNBC had invited him again for an appearance over the weekend, but he replied that he would only show up after the network apologizes.
“Was asked to appear on MSNBC this weekend — and told them that I’d be happy to after they apologize on-air, discuss and include our campaign consistent with our polling, and allow surrogates from our campaign as they do other candidates’,” Yang wrote. “They think we need them. We don’t.”
Was asked to appear on @msnbc this weekend – and told them that I’d be happy to after they apologize on-air, discuss and include our campaign consistent with our polling, and allow surrogates from our campaign as they do other candidates’. They think we need them. We don’t.
Aside from giving him limited speaking time, Yang slammed MSNBC for other supposed offenses such as calling him by the wrong name.
“They’ve omitted me from their graphics 12+ times, called me John Yang on air, and given me a fraction of the speaking time over two debates despite my polling higher than other candidates on stage,” he recalled. “At some point, you have to call it.”
Despite the unfavorable treatment, Yang has reportedly seen an increase in followers, donations, and support.
“The whole time we have gotten stronger. This is actually bad for MSNBC. It will only get worse after I make the next debates and keep rising in the polls. The people are smarter than MSNBC would like to think,” he added.
The whole time we have gotten stronger. This is actually bad for MSNBC. It will only get worse after I make the next debates and keep rising in the polls. The people are smarter than MSNBC would like to think.
Following his tweets, Yang reiterated in an interview with CNN’s Ana Cabrera why MSNBC owes him an apology.
“Americans tuned in to the debate earlier this week and they saw that I got called on less than any other candidate — including candidates that I’m polling higher than — and the questions I did get had virtually nothing to do with the core ideas of my campaign. If this were an isolated incident, that would be one thing, but if you go back over the last number of months, MSNBC has literally omitted me from over a dozen fundraising and polling graphics.
“It’s not about me — it’s about the 300,000-plus Americans who donated to and support my campaign and the millions of Americans who know we need to rewrite the rules of the 21st-century economy to work for us. Think about those people donating $10, $20 of their hard-earned money to put a candidate on the stage and have MSNBC virtually ignore me for 32 minutes, or when they tune in to MSNBC to see how we’re doing in the polls, it’s like I don’t exist.
“You can see they’ve done it to me over and over again, and I’m not the kind of guy who takes offense easily, but at this point, you have to call it like you see it.”
Yang also received an invitation from CNN’s Van Jones, who tweeted, “You are always welcome on my show, sir.”
Supporters appreciated Jones’ offer, with one writing, “Seriously, MSNBC has made me better appreciate the number of quality journalists at CNN.”